7 Pillars of Modern, 3 Decks, 1 Puzzle

by Lee Shi Tian on 08 December 2017, Friday

Lee Shi Tian


7 Pillars of Modern, 3 Decks, 1 Puzzle

Team Unified Constructed provides restrictions on choosing three decks. Last week, 73 countries were asked to select 3 Standard decks for the World Magic Cup, and they did so by finding the critical threats in the format. Most teams ended up with one Hazoret the Fervent deck, an Energy deck, and something else.


This weekend, Grand Prix Madrid will ask teams to select three decks for Team Unified Modern. It is an extensive format with many legal cards. Due to the vast range of decks, it may not be that simple to find the correct configuration.

However, there is an easy way to narrow down your choices by making use of "The 7 Pillars of Modern", which I've identified as the most powerful cards in Modern.



We will assume that there are "7 colors" in Magic - including colorless and artifact. As you can see, it is safe to assume that most white decks in Modern will have to play Path to Exile and most red decks will have to play Lightning BoltThought-Knot Seer is the representative for "colorless" while Mox Opal is the representative for artifacts.

Let's move on to see which decks are using which pieces. Based on the twenty most popular decks in the metagame, here is a chart which provides you a quick view of the Modern format:


Getting Started

Now that I've explained the rough concept, let's take a more in-depth look. Let's say you have a solid Lantern Control player on your team, and you decide to play this list:



Lantern Control might play a lot of unique cards (which other decks do not use) such as Codex Shredder and Pyxis of Pandemonium, making it an excellent choice for Team Unified Modern. Right?

Well, it depends.


Thoughtseize Mox Opal

Lantern Control uses Thoughtseize and Mox Opal, which takes up "two cards" from the list of "7 Pillars". With black and artifact gone, you cannot play Death's Shadow (because you don't get to play Thoughtseize anymore) and you also do not get to play Affinity (which plays Mox Opal).


With two colors gone, you have to use the remaining five cards in your two remaining decks, which is still a reasonable task. We are left with white, red, blue, green, and colorless. After removing black and artifact from that chart, we can narrow down our shortlist even further.

Assuming we want to work on a red deck now, we could choose Jeskai Control, Storm, Burn, Titan Shift, or Temur Breach. However, many of these decks pair with blue. Let's try out this Jeskai Control list:



Lightning Bolt Path to Exile Serum Visions


With these cards finding a home, we are left with green and colorless. We can eliminate many more decks from the metagame, and it leaves us with Eldrazi Tron or Green/X Tron. Unfortunately, Jeskai Control also takes up Relic of Progenitus and Surgical Extraction, which these decks share as sideboard cards.

It looks like we will have to find something else! How about this? This 5-Color Humans deck went 6-2 at the Modern Challenge and only uses Noble Hierarch.



Noble Hierarch


Although this is a five-color deck, it does not take much from other decks except Noble Hierarch. If we choose this as the third deck, we don't overlap with the first two choices. However, our options are very limited at this point.

Let's take one step back. What if we choose to play Storm instead of Jeskai Control? Check out this Blue-Red Gifts Storm list!



As you can see, this choice will free up white, and that means that we can play Eldrazi and Taxes instead of 5-Color Humans. Assuming you think it is a better deck than 5-Color Humans, then you should swap Jeskai Control for Blue-Red Gifts Storm to play this "white and colorless" deck which went 7-1 at a recent RPTQ:



Thought-Knot Seer


Or, if you think the Eldrazi look too scary, you can try out the cute Bogles (interestingly this deck also went 7-1 at the RPTQ):




Aside from avoiding main deck clashing, choosing decks based on colors also helps you avoid clashing in the sideboard. The mana bases will even sort themselves out if you will rarely have two decks playing the same color pair.

I hope that this methodology can help you figure out what configurations are best for your team in Team Unified Modern. If you're playing at Grand Prix Madrid this weekend, good luck and have fun with Modern - the best format of Magic in my humble opinion!


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